The Week's Best, for the week of 5-10-10 to 5-16-10

I hate season finale time. I mean I love it, because generally finale episodes are the some of the better ones of the season, but I hate it, because soon there will be nothing on to watch. Sure, there will be a few good Summer replacement shows and whatnot, but those are usually few and far between. I'm going to have to think of a way to change this column around once everything wraps for the season, otherwise True Blood will just end up winning every week. I'm at the drawing board on that, don't worry.

The Week's Best TV Show Runner-Up - The Vampire Diaries Ep 1x22, "Founder's Day"
Boy, this show sure isn't shy about killing people off, is it? People have died left and right through the season, and on this episode alone, three fairly major characters died for sure, with another one possible, and yet another one in the hospital, and we don't know if she's conscious or not. Add to that the fairly jaw-dropping last few moments and the cliffhanger it left off on, and this is definitely one of the shows I'll be most looking forward to when it returns in September.

The Week's Best TV Show Winner - Supernatural Ep 5x22, "Swan Song"
This one really had it all. The apocalypse? Check. The final battle between Lucifer and Michael? Check. Sacrifice and death? Check? Deeply emotional character moments? Check. The final revelation of the presence of God in the series? It's debatable, but I think that's a check. I'm going to hold off on giving too many of my thoughts about how this functions as a season finale for now because of something I plan on writing in a few weeks, but I will say that this was an hour of great television that paid off on a lot of things fans have been waiting for since early in the show's existence, and it was worth the wait.

The Week's Best Comic Book Runner-Up - New Avengers Finale
A good seven or so years ago, Brian Bendis took over the Avengers and wrote a four part story that ended the 500-plus issue series. Not long after that, he started New Avengers, a series that lasted 65 issues and was the core book of Marvel's line, the backbone of events like House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion, and the just concluded Siege. Now, with the Marvel Universe entering a new "Heroic Age," Bendis wraps up New Avengers with a story that ties up the long-running Hood plot line and finally sees this team pardoned and no longer operating illegally. Bendis' writing is great, as he really has the team dynamics down, and his Luke Cage, as always, especially shines. The art by Bryan Hitch excels at making the heroes look, well, heroic, but the real treat is the splash pages at the end, recapturing some of the many great moments of this series; it's definitely a fitting finale. Of course, New Avengers Vol. 2 #1 is just a few short weeks away...

The Week's Best Comic Book Winner - Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #10
In the first edition of this column, I said this title would probably end up showing up here a lot, and here it is for the second month in a row. Bendis gets both slots in this week's column, as this second part in the story of Kitty Pryde being kicked out of school because it's illegal to be a mutant really picks up the pace and hits home runs left and right; from Kong's defense of Kitty to Peter, Bobby, and Johnny's forced lack of defense of her, the scenes in school are pitch-perfect, especially the panels of nothing but Kitty's face, framed in tears. The scene where the principal quit, while heavy in exposition, was powerful as well. The issue is stolen, though, by the action sequence of Kitty on a rampage, defending herself from the government in front of her home, and kicking the crap out of her friends because they did nothing to help her. The fantastic dialogue lets us know that Kitty knows they couldn't have done anything, but she's so full of anger and frustration, and, considering everything this character has been through, it's understandable. The whole thing culminates with her hiding in a sewer in tears. It's touching and powerful, and the last page cliffhanger could either help Kitty's situation... or make things ridiculously worse. I can't wait to find out which.